Ok, I believe I found this idea on someone's blog but now I can't find it. It was a simple idea but the kids had lots of fun with it. First, all the kids got a whiteboard and I taught them quickly how to draw a bat, a cat, and a pumpkin (very interesting!). Then we made rebus sentences. One student came up to the board and chose the words and pictures for the sentence then everyone wrote and drew it on their white boards. It turned out great! Everyone was successful.
We used a rubric to score our writing. Later in the year, we do writing sentences on white boards as part of reading group ( a la Jan Richardson) and I let my kids give themselves stars if they remember to use spaces, periods, upper/lowercase letters correctly, etc. This early in the year, we used check marks. So, they gave themselves one checkmark if they left spaces, another if they started with an uppercase letter, another if they had a period (of course they just add it on and then give themselves a checkmark. Later in the year, we switch markers so they have a different color (ha!).)
We will practice this again this week-with spiders!!!